Letters to the Editor, Magazine
New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10036


To the Editor:

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) takes strong exception to George Packer's
portrayal of Lynne Stewart (Sunday, September 22, 2002, New York Times
Magazine.) Contrary to Packer''s assertion that Ms. Stewart has been
abandoned by the legal Left, in fact she has garnered broad support among a
wide range of legal practitioners. The NLG strongly affirms the right of
Lynne Stewart and the obligation of lawyers to defend people in need of
legal representation, particularly those whose politics, religion, or
beliefs oppose government policies or differ from mainstream views. For
sixty-five years, the National Lawyers Guild has done just that--provided
vigorous legal defense for those most in need.

In the wake of 9/11 we have united with a wide array of groups to affirm the
need for legal defense and to oppose constitutionally problematic changes in
the law, such as the attack on the attorney-client privilege, denial of
right to counsel, increase in racial profiling, use of secret evidence in
secret hearings, and surveillance of groups and individuals engaged in
protected political activity. If anything, the legal Left and indeed legal
practitioners across the spectrum have been unusually supportive of Ms.
Stewart's case in these difficult times.

Bruce D. Nestor
President
National Lawyers Guild